Association between alcohol abuse, childhood adverse events and suicide

  • Vida Ana Politakis Department for Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Aškerčeva cesta 2, SI-1000, Slovenia
  • Peter Pregelj Chair of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Vrazov trg 2, Ljubljana, SI-1000, Slovenia University Psychiatric Hospital Ljubljana, Studenec 48, Ljubljana Polje, SI-1260, Slovenia
  • Alja Videtič Paska Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Vrazov trg 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Tomaž Zupanc Chair of Forensic Medicine and Deontology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Korytkova ulica 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Keywords: suicidal behaviour, suicide prevention, case-control study, psychological autopsy, alcohol abuse, childhood adverse events


Background: Negative life events present a risk for suicidal behaviour. The occurrence of suicidal behaviour also depends on type of negative life events, time of their appearance and the support person has in their environment, and can be part of a process triggered by a stressful event. the aim of the study was to investigate adverse childhood events, parental alcoholism and alcohol abuse in association with suicidal behaviour of suicide victims.

Methods: A case-control study was conducted involving 90 individuals from Slovenian population who committed suicide and 90 age-sex matched controls drawn from the living population. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews with key informants by the principles of psychological autopsy.

Results: Alcohol abuse was reported more ofen for suicide victims than for controls. The same was true for severe deprivation in childhood and alcoholism of one or both parents. Differences between groups in separation from one or both parents, death of one or both parents, reported parental divorce in childhood or sexual abuse in childhood were not observed.

Conclusions: We should conclude that negative events in childhood and alcohol abuse in adulthood of suicide victims could be related to suicidal behaviour in population with higher suicide rate. When planning measures for the prevention of suicidal behaviour, adverse events in childhood and alcohol abuse should not be neglected to plan measures to prevent such events accordingly and to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol abuse for suicidal behaviour.


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How to Cite
Politakis VA, Pregelj P, Videtič Paska A, Zupanc T. Association between alcohol abuse, childhood adverse events and suicide. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 6Nov.2017 [cited 23Aug.2019];86(9-10):365-72. Available from:
Original article